* Posts by hammarbtyp

1271 posts • joined 28 Nov 2007


In Rust We Trust: Microsoft Azure CTO shuns C and C++


Came here for a bunch of experienced engineers who have been through the hype curve many times...

Fixed it for ya

'Last man standing in the floppy disk business' reckons his company has 4 years left


Re: Speaking Of Ancient Storage Methods .....

CD's and DVD's are very sensitive to the type and manufacture of disk(and storage). I've had some CD's that did not last 5 years. Also you have to take into account size of the media.

Modern cameras will quickly fill a DVD, so i use old HD drives, but the rotating rust type. They are fast, large capacity and been around long enough to be trusted. Yes potentially there maybe long term mechanical issues (oil evaporation is one possible fail mode), but I still think they are safer that DVD or CDD (SSD's have there own problem in that the charge will leak away so should not be trusted)

But in truth if you want to safe images for posterity you need to print them out...

How this Mars rover used its MOXIE to convert CO2 into precious oxygen


Re: You need the nitrogen

well the lack of ionosphere is caused by the lack magnetic field, and because you are unlikely to be sun bathing on the surface it is probably not a huge issue and there are ways to protect habitation such as digging down

Mars gravity is low( third of earths), but it is still relevant. Whether the health effects of zero gravity would be the same for this is unknown. However both of these effects are more pertinent to the issues of actually getting there

However neither of these makes Mars uninhabitable, just very challenging and it is still probably the 2nd most hospitable place in the near universe

Whether we should go all Elon Musk on the place is another question, but there is no doubt it would be achievable with enough time and resources


Re: You need the nitrogen

Well making things blow up in a controlled manner i.e Rockets is the purpose of the experiment, but in terms of human habitation, Nitrogen is 2.8% of the Martian atmosphere. OK its not the 70% of Earths, but extraction and concentration would be relatively straight forward by freezing the air (not a big issue on Mars).

The nitrogen would also be useful to make Ammonia if we wanted to go all Matt Damon

In terms how long would it take to deplete the atmosphere of CO2? A vast, vast amount of time despite the relative low density on Mars, and that is before you factor in the CO2 sublimed at the poles. Also we are only borrowing the Oxygen. Once it is burnt or breathed in it becomes CO2.

US Army drone crashes hours ahead of breaking flight duration record


In hindsight reserving only 7 bits for the day part of the time accumulated field was probably an optimization too far


Just enough time for the onboard A.I to achieve sentience and then commit suicide when it considered its long term career options

Iran cheerfully admits using cryptocurrency to pay for imports


Re: A Rigged Market

see b)


Re: A Rigged Market


a) there was a fuss, which is why extensive banking regulation was brought in to control and monitor such transfers

b) The reason bad actors moved to cryptocurrency was because the regulation worked

Report slams UK plan to become 'science superpower' by 2030


Is it a bird...

The only superpower Brexit bestows is the ability to repeatable punch ourselves in the face....

Bad news, older tech workers: Job advert language works against you


Goes both way

I have an age related language problem. When a grad comes in expecting me to hire them on the spot because they mentioned blockchain or NFT as the solution to all my issues, I have a strong desire to use age related fruity language

Preparing for Skylab: The separate 1972 experimental mission that never left the ground


Re: In one go?

I think they were taking the piss

NASA's Lunar Orbiter spots comfortably warm 'pits' all over the Moon


Re: Hmmm...

Why not use the old mars rover system of wrapping it in a giant Kelvar ball, which is deflated once in the hole?

British intelligence recycles old argument for thwarting strong encryption: Think of the children!


Re: Last continent system Or Ankh Morpork

In another book, there is a town called Escrow where people line up to have there blood sucked by vampires

Disentangling the Debian derivatives: Which should you use?


Re: because all of its stable releases are codenamed after characters from that film.

Yes why don't you have a modern naming conventions like windows such as












Much easier to remember

Boris Johnson set to step down with tech legacy in tatters


Re: 37 Billions

South Korea with a similar population spent $310 million on theirs and was far more successful. To put this is context the next Nuclear Power Station is budgeted at £22 billion

The T&T was a great example of how not to run a project. They decided to do everything in house, set up everything then found that their approach was not achievable without Apple and google extending their access rights. They then scrapped it and went back to the approach which everyone said they should of gone on the 1st place, never mind trying to stamp over the privacy rights which meant most people would not touch the app with a barge pole.

Of course lets not forget the huge amount of wasted resources on PPE bought from anyone with a government minister phone number

What to do about inherent security flaws in critical infrastructure?


Re: Security Cr4ze

Physical security is an underated, but critical part of OT security. once someone has unhindered physical access to your systems you will be compromised, it is just a matter of time and effort.

It is also the area not under vendor control, so you have limited ability to do anything about it.


Re: So sorry....waves hands in the air!! So sorry!!

Secure/Trusted boot is pretty standard even on OT platforms as is code signing


Re: International standards?

They have done. Its called IEC 62443

Some is still in progress but the component and system level is pretty mature. Of course in the states you have things like NERC CIP, and the power and water systems have there own standards, but 62443 is a pretty good starting off point for OT security


Re: VPN/Stunnel that stuff. Cheaper and better to maintain.

Modbus maybe, but a lot of industrial protocols are very timing sensitive so adding an encryption layer would create issues.

At the end of the day Modbus is an edge protocol and it is questionable whether add encryption will make things more secure unless you are trying to access your I/O remotely (which would be pretty stupid). It is similar to suggesting that all I2C busses have encryption on them


OT security is a challenge

OT security is a challenge.

Firstly most security processes are based on IT systems where the priority is to protect data. OT systems availability is the priority. So for example if we design security based around certificates, and that certificate expires what should a system do? In the IT world they may deny access, in the OT world that would cause huge issues. There are other issues such as the fact OT systems are designed to have a long working life (25+ years), run with minimum interaction and are generally bespoke and finely tuned, so any changes have to be carefully planned. The last one means patching systems is not as easy as just uploading new software, there has to be considerable testing, planned downtime. Add in that your system maybe be older than some engineers and that just adds to the challenge.

Some suggestions such as authentication don't fit well with OT systems. M2M is a challenge because it requires non-human authentication. Also adding security without deep thought has its own issues. You could just be adding a layer that an attacker can do a denial of service attack. Unlike IT systems, the attacker is often happy just to bring your system down.

This brings another point. I said availability is a priority in OT systems, but in fact Safety is the overriding concern. There is an overlap and ballance between safety and security. Getting both right is the challenge.

The other thing to remember is that OT systems are often very performance sensitive. When you are controlling billion $ of equipment with very fast control cycles, adding jitter on the line can cause mayhem. So running industrial protocols over say VPN is just not possible. Many of these protocols such as Ethercat are basically running at Ethernet wired speed. Adding an encryption layer would cause chaos.

As someone suggested air gapping a system makes sense, but of course in the world of remote diagnostics customers want to be able to see how their system is doing. There are other architectures that are almost as secure. A DMZ zone while not totally secure can be secure if the connection to the outside world is well controlled. One criticism of the report is by examining each protocol in isolation, it misses the mitigation techniques in the system context.

Some have suggested that security has not improved in OT systems in the last 10 years. That is just not true. Standards such as IEC 62443 and the industry acceptance of them has really help improve OT security, but people are not going to rip out legacy systems to add security, and shoehorning security into existing systems is very hard, so the change is not going to be met overnight, but most systems designed today are expected to be security aware.

Mars Express orbiter to get code update after 19 years


Re: It never ceases to amaze me ...

steam engines used to break continually, and sometimes catastrophically. The big weak point was the boiler, which consisted on many metres of copper pipes. Add high pressure steam, and a single failure could pretty well destroy the engine. Of course there was no easy way to inspect them.

Steam enthusiasts tend to ignore that Steam engines are difficult to operate and maintain, and when they go, they go with a bang, so require constant matainence


Re: It never ceases to amaze me ...

Weird thing is that things today are actually more reliable than in the past. In the 70's it was accepted that things fail and your life revolved around it. Today if things fail it is a major talking point

The eponymous James Burke said once the lasting legacy of the Apollo space program, was not things like Teflon, better chip etc. These things would of happened anyway. It was that things broke down a bit less often

AMD refreshes Ryzen Embedded line with R2000 series


Running Hot

The problem we found with AMD embedded chips is that they manage their performance with very aggressive power management strategies.

When the chips get hot, they throttle back the clock to make them run slower. On a desktop you will not notice any differece, but when you have sub msec tight timing loops this unpredictability or jitter plays havoc.

All x86 chips use the same strategy to a certain amount, but Intel chips seem to far more configurable in terms of disabling such features. We tried to use them for a while, but in the end gave up and went back to Intel. Pity because they have a good price/performance

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio: Too edgy for comfort?


User: I would rather cut my wrists than use a surface laptop

Microsoft Design team: hmmmmm, lets help you with that

Internet Explorer 11 limps to the end of Windows 10 road


Nuke it from orbit...just to make sure

Meteoroid hits main mirror on James Webb Space Telescope


Re: Sheilds up Mr. Scott.

If we had Star Trek type technology, we wouldn't really need the telescope....

UK opens up 'high-potential individual route' for tech worker immigration


Re: Not nearly enough....

"Exactly the same considerations apply to any graduate from the UK applying for a US greencard or other foreign (eg. EU member) work permit.

These are newly minted graduates from top universities, their boyfriend/girlfriend is likely to also be from one of these universities. They are unlikely to be married or have kids."

You are making a lot of assumptions about the graduates. The fact is pre-brexit anyone in Europe could move to the UK and have the same rights as the citizens, now these are restricted and it makes us far less attractive as a destination, never mind the feeling that the country is affected by severe xenophobia. Its engineers is not just graduates we want to attract, but those with 4 or 5 years experience. Yes we have a graduate program and that is the one bright spot, but graduates won't fill all the gaps, we need experienced with real world industry experience and for whatever reason they don't see the UK as an attractive destination. Note this is what we are getting from real world experience not some ideology

Yes we have a office in Chennai. Problem is the company is more likely to hire people there and move the work rather than the cost and expense of sponsoring the engineer to come here. Again its all about risks

Again it is making the UK PLC far less attractive for multi-national corps to setup shop.

"Need to get out more"

I live in the real world not some Ivory tower.


Not nearly enough....

As someone who has been beating his head against a wall for 2 years trying to fill high tech positions in a large international company, these proposals are an improvement, and maybe a step towards the reality of attracting talent, but go no where enough

It used to be that we could attract talent from the EU market. Our team was made of French, Greek, German etc. Since Brexit, that pool has basically dried up, with no one from those areas willing to fight the hurdles to come here, especially when they can work pretty well in the EU with no restrictions.

We do get some interest from India, etc, however those have their own issues. Most candidates have worked for multiple companies on short contracts at a time meaning they are difficult to evaluate in terms of skills, and it is difficult to work out whether the universities degrees are equivalent. However the main issue is that the risks are higher. If we employ someone from India say, the company has to bear the costs of sponsoring the candidate (basically a guarantee they won't become a drain on the state ). This means they are a greater risk, so the company will only employ those at the very top of the technical tree, when what we are missing are the upcoming candidates. These new proposals may help a little, but the risks are still higher than the pre-brexit EU candidate and again only large firms with large HR resources can really manage this. Their is also the suspicion (realistic or otherwise) that the candidates have no interest in actually working for us, but are just looking for work visa, and one obtained will be off. Our business is based on long term knowledge retention, so again this is a risk.

The other problem is that the proposals are more the resource than human in HR. It is the assumption that people are just commodities that can be shipped around the world. However people have relationships. So its great to say that a top graduate can now come to this country to work, but what about their boyfriend/girlfriend? What if they have a wife, can they get a job. Will their kids be allowed to stay once they reach 18? All these are barriers that never used to exist, but are part of the equation that a candidate must consider. Top candidates can pick and choose their jobs, since we are in a competive markets

The other big issue that is maddingly stupid is student visas. Basically the rules for student visa's is that they are only valid when at university. So a foreign graduate comes here, spends 3 to 4 years studying and then cannot get a job in the UK because the visa is no longer valid and they cannot get a work visa. We have had a number of candidates which have had to turn down because their student visas do not allow them to work here. So we get the talent, train them and basically send them packing for other countries to use.

To be honest any proposal from now on, is only going to paper of the cracks of the huge skill shortage in the UK, making us increasingly uncompetitive. My company is multi-national and we have already seen work moving to Germany and France because we cannot attract the talent here. It is just another sign of how the so called party of business had no idea of how the modern world works.

Sick of Windows but can't afford a Mac? Consult our cynic's guide to desktop Linux


Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

Affinity is not designed as a clone of Photoshop. The mistake you make is that somehow photoshop is the best way to edit images, when it is just what you are used to (Similar criticism to those who want all UI to look like windows)

Yes Affinity has its weaknesses, but it also does some things far better than PS(like blend ranges), because it was not constrained by history. Yes there some conversion pains, but the cost is about 3 months of a PS subscription so what's not to like

Clearview AI fined millions in the UK: No 'lawful reason' to collect Brits' images

Black Helicopters

No - I'm sparticus

"I have never uploaded my image to the internet, but I have been tagged in photo's by friends and family. They are all very aware now that they were out of order for doing that. The damage was done though and cannot be undone."

That was your 1st mistake. What you should of done was get a total random picture of a person (preferable deceased) then upload it to as many sites as possible attached to your name. You could even ask your nearest and dearest to add some photoshopped images of them with your avatar.

It may not be possible to beat the man, but you can at least confuse the hell out of hime

Oracle really does owe HPE $3b after Supreme Court snub


At least one side bills will be paid then...


Re: Couldn't happen to a nicer company

No, the lawyers are doing fine, thank you very much

You have to question the management however who felt that they could win

a) a case that involved trying to retrospectively patent a commonly used computer language

b) Trying to frame contract law as some sort of 1st amendment free speech issue

The sad state of Linux desktop diversity: 21 environments, just 2 designs


Re: The curse of overchoice

The "subway" effect...

Bosses using AI to hire candidates risk discriminating against disabled applicants


Here we go again

It was common until quite recently to employ a graphologist (I.e a handwriting analysis) to filter job candidates. This technique was widely used to ascertain candidate characteristics based on their handwriting. It may still be used in places. The only problem with it was the science it was based on was total junk and was the equivalent of choosing someone on their star sign.

Choosing candidates via AI seems to me similar with an added flavour of special techno sauce which "magically" chooses the most capable candidates and therefore becomes a sort of cargo cult to the ignorant HR masses. I expect stories in HR weekly saying how since their new RoboCandidateMatic was installed the caliber of candidates has improved immeasurable. It will only be in 10 years hence when a proper analysis is done it will be shown to be not much better than a random selection

The best way to choose candidates will always be via human to human interaction. Outsourcing that to our robot overlords will mean that you will end up at best with a group of group think identi clones who meet some secret AI algorithm

We can bend the laws of physics for your super-yacht, but we can't break them


Not so much yachts, but i did here a story of a Middle east billionaire who built a house with a huge swimming pool in the middle of the desert, but then complained that pretty well every bird (of the feathered variety) came to quench its thirst.

It's not only the law of physics that such people do not believe is sacrosanct, but also the law of nature

IBM's autonomous Mayflower ship breaks down in second transatlantic attempt

Black Helicopters

Re: Size of vessel

No but it did cause mass insanity, which unfortunately appears to be hereditary

Jeffrey Snover claims Microsoft demoted him for inventing PowerShell


One of the interesting parts of the thread was the total toxic culture due to a particular VP. It explains a lot and MS at the time, and I wonder whether the culture of stack ranking was part of it?

Certainly he seems to have a VP who was scared in upsetting his bosses, and was not willing to fight for their team. Basically a culture where innovation was frowned upon and discussion was stamped our.

It pretty well explains a lot of MS products at the time

Clustered Pi Picos made to run original Transputer code


Not sure about the commercial failure bit, but i do know that most of the UK navy sonar's relied on them in the 80's (and probably still would have if the T9000 hadn't been such a cluster f**k

The greatest thing about them was their scalability. You could do your development on 1 chip, with 16 processes and then run the same software on hardware with 16 processors without changing a thing. Well ahead of its time and great fun.

Nice to see there is still some love out there

Heresy: Hare programming language an alternative to C


Languages are more than a neat syntax

Problem with new languages is that however slick the syntax is, it will be competing against a language with 1000's of libraries, a huge user and knowledge base, and massive processor architecture support.

For a new language to succeed, being better is not enough. It has to be markedly better or solve a problem that the original language cannot.

Good luck, but I don't think I will be burning my K&R yet

Amazon books rocket flights for its Kuiper broadband internet satellites


Re: Obviously.

Businesses will use the cheapest option that meets their requirements .

Problem is the market looks like its going to get saturated pretty quickly, and I don't see all these providers surviving. At some point there will be a price war and one of these are going to go to the wall.

SpaceX are well ahead of the competition in terms of deployment (owning your own rocket company helps). Amazon are late to the game, but have deep pockets. Not sure where this leaves oneweb.

Saying that, soon there will be so many satellites up there you won't need to buy a disk, you could just reflect a laser of the shell of components in close earth orbit formation

Intel counters AMD’s big-cache PC chip with 5.5GHz 16-core rival


"Despite all that, the reference to battery life seems misplaced here. "

Valid criticism, however it feels like the days of large desktop is waning. The last two years have shown the need for mobility and flexibility, something that a desktop cannot provide, so instead we are looking for portable computers that sometimes act like desktops. There are niche applications that require the full power of a processor, but there are not enough of them to feed a monster like Intel

Of course the elephant in the room is Apple and their home grown M1 chip. Apple have shown that you can create a chip which has far less power requirement than Intel's best, while at the same time increasing performance. The idea that companies can roll their own, is probably giving Intel's CEO sleepless nights, because without Intel's virtual monopolly (or at last duopoly), Intel is virtually nothing


If they can do it without have the power consumption of a small star and the heat output to match I'll be impressed.

The days of raw mips and GHz wars are well in the past. The frontier is getting enough performance to do the majority of everyday tasks with enough battery life for a day and without the risk of 3rd degree burns if the machine touches a piece of naked flesh

Arch Linux turns 20: Small, simple, great documentation


Re: Lisp?

I think at least one functional or declarative language should be in a programmers war chest.

You may never use it, but it helps you become a better programmers

Fujitsu: Dumping older workers will wipe out quarter of forecast profit


Calling a spade a agricultural enhancement implement

"career course redirection"

When will the HR bods get it into their heads that renaming something does not make it better, it just reduces the already low respect that the workforce has of the management who don't have the guts to be straight forward and honest

Co-inventor of Ethernet David Boggs dies aged 71


Not all heroes wear capes...


Re: 50 ohm coax

I remember going on site with a small team to do some development on a hush hush naval project. Rather than swap floppies around we set up our own small Ethernet network using T junctions and terminators (No switches here kids)

This improved productivity no end, and during the downtime it allowed us to play deathmatch on recently released Doom. First time we had ever played connected (33K modems were not up to the job). Not sure it did a lot for productivity but great team building and no better feeling than taking your boss out with a BFG


Re: Ethernet turned out to become the network winner

Did some work in the 90's with someone who made a lot of money in early network developments and invested big time in FDDI as the next big thing.

In the meantime Ethernet just evolved, added new standards and squashed any attempts to supercede it. Its a bit like IPv4. If you were designing it today it would look very different, but its good enough and so ingrained, its virtually impossible to shift, warts and all


Re: Ethernet turned out to become the network winner

from what I remember the two big competitors was Ethernet and IBM token ring. From a technical perspective Ethernet should not have had a chance. Not only was it backed by the biggest computer manufacturer on the planet (Look it up, kids), but the way Ethernet worked seemed counter intuitive

Rather than token rings orderly passing on permission to send, you had each Ethernet station trying to randomly grab the network. It seemed Ethernet could not scale

Two things happened however. Firstly Ethernet was a open standard, meaning unlike token ring which was encumbered by IBM patents and corporate strangle hold, pretty well anyone could make a Ethernet card. This is a big lesson, that in the short term, protectionism may make the corporate balance sheet look good, but in the long term it is a technology death sentence.

The second thing is that due to the scale and competition, costs came down. Switches and routers became cheap (I hope he got his cut from Cisco [probably didn't]) , so we moved to star networks and scaling became far easier (I don't know whether the latest standards still support the CSMA mode?)

Anyone thanks David Boggs, the world owes you (As i send these packets down my local Ethernet link)

Intel's plan to license x86 cores for chips with Arm, RISC-V and more inside


Firstly its not about pure execution speed, its about a trade off between power/thermal efficiency and execution speed. In that respect the M1 beats Intel's best hands down.

And yes, it is Apple proprietary technology, however what it show is what is possible and you can be sure that other companies are following on behind.

India's Reserve Bank deputy governor calls for crypto ban


Re: The nub of the matter:

but is backed by the faith of hundreds of millions of users, which is more than most countries have citizens.

faith is such an ephemeral thing. Personally I want my money backed by something a bit more concrete than the whim and hopes of speculators and the uninformed



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